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KyotoJapan

Enjoy a traditional tea ceremony, feed wild monkeys and explore World Heritage-listed temples and shrines in this historically rich Japanese city.

Kyoto, on the Japanese island of Honshu, has been a hub of religious activity and political power since the eighth century. It was once the capital of Japan and retains many of the temples and palaces built within this period. Step back in time to imperial Japan as you explore the city’s many World Heritage Sites such as the Kiyomizu Temple. Kyoto is also renowned for its landscaped gardens, many of which are based on designs dating back hundreds of years.

The wealth of cultural history in Kyoto can be overwhelming and it can be difficult to know where to start. Take the Philosopher’s Walk to orient yourself around some of Kyoto’s historic sights, such as the Eikando Temple. The walk takes in three major temples as well as several smaller temples and shrines, boutique shopping areas and restaurants where you can sample the traditional Japanese multicourse dinner, kaiseki. Cherry blossoms line the walk during spring, and in the fall, the area comes alive with the brilliant reds of maple trees.

Central Kyoto offers a combination of modern and traditional delights. Ride up the Kyoto Tower for a 360-degree view over the city from 330 feet (100 meters) up. Explore the Nishiki Market, lined with restaurants, and fresh produce and street food stalls. See giant salamanders and local river fish at the Kyoto Aquarium.

At one of the regular festivals held in the city, taste some of the food brought to Kyoto from all over Japan to please the Emperor, watch traditional crafts being made, take a lesson in saké brewing and experience the culture of Japan.

Lovers of Japanese literature will enjoy the 17th-century Katsura Imperial Villa, built to resemble the fictional setting of the 11th-century novel The Tale of Genji.

Tourism is a large part of Kyoto’s economy and there are some unique attractions such as hand feeding wild snow monkeys at Arashiyama Monkey Park. Kyoto has a welcoming atmosphere, incredible natural beauty and layered history.

Kyoto Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Kyoto

Nijo Castle showing a park and a pond

Central Kyoto

4.5/5Wonderful!(1,806 area reviews)

Central Kyoto is highly notable for its popular shops, and you might want to visit top sights like Nijō Castle and Nishiki Market. See more of Kyoto by jumping on the metro at Nijojo-mae Station or Karasuma Oike Station.

Central Kyoto
Gion which includes cycling, street scenes and night scenes

Gion

5/5Exceptional!(208 area reviews)

Unique features of Gion include the monuments and shopping. Make a stop by Kyoto MINAMIZA Theatre or Yasaka Shrine while you're exploring the area.

Gion
Kyōto featuring a garden, forest scenes and landscape views

Arashiyama

5/5Exceptional!(51 area reviews)

You might enjoy the river views while in Arashiyama. Kyoto Arashiyama Orgel Museum is a notable sight, and you can get around town at Saga-Arashiyama Station or Torokko Arashiyama Station to see more of the city.

Arashiyama
Nishiki Market featuring markets and street scenes as well as a large group of people

Karasuma

Visitors to Karasuma love its popular shops, and you can check out Nishiki Market and Kawaramachi. If you want to see more in the area, you can get around town on the metro at Karasuma Oike Station.

Karasuma
Shoren-in Temple which includes a temple or place of worship and signage

Higashiyama

4.5/5Wonderful!(28 area reviews)

Consider a visit to Kiyomizu Temple and take some time to enjoy the abundant dining options during your time in Higashiyama. If you want to see more of the city, jump on the metro at Tofukuji Station or Higashiyama Station.

Higashiyama
Philosopher\\\'s Walk featuring a river or creek and a garden

Sakyo Ward

5/5Exceptional!(4 area reviews)

Noted for its gardens and mountain views, there's plenty to explore in Sakyo Ward. Top attractions like Kifune Shrine and Mount Hiei are major draws, and you can hop on the metro at Kokusaikaikan Station or Matsugasaki Station to see more of the city.

Sakyo Ward

Top Hotels in Kyoto

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
4 out of 5
1 Taimatsu-cho, Shiokoji-sagaru, HigashiHorikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
¥9,330
per night
Apr 12 - Apr 13

Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Nishihonganji Temple, Kyoto Tower, and Kyoto Aquarium. Toji Temple and Shijo Omiya are also ...

4.4/5Excellent! (3,826 reviews)

"The hotel was very well located, the staff were very friendly, helpful and professional and our room had all the amenities that we needed."…"

Reviewed on Mar 15, 2020

RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
Hotel Monterey Kyoto
Hotel Monterey Kyoto
3.5 out of 5
604 Manjuya-cho, Sanjo-sagaru, Kyoto, Kyoto
¥6,219
per night
Apr 12 - Apr 13

Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Rokakkudo Temple and Nishiki Market. Kawaramachi and Shijo Omiya are also within 10 minutes. ...

4.4/5Excellent! (2,104 reviews)

"The hotel was in a very convenient location and very beautiful!"…"

Reviewed on Mar 6, 2020

Hotel Monterey Kyoto
Kyoto Century Hotel
Kyoto Century Hotel
4 out of 5
680 Higashi Shiokoji-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto

Located in Central Kyoto, this romantic hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Kyoto Tower, Nishiki Market, and Kawaramachi. Shijo Omiya and Kiyomizu Temple are also ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (2,243 reviews)

"It was perfect. Everything was in great shape, the service was impeccable. An elegant, beautiful place."…"

Reviewed on Mar 29, 2020

Kyoto Century Hotel

Popular things to do in Kyoto

Kyoto Tower
Image for Kyoto Tower

Kyoto Tower

4/5(462 reviews)

In a city known for its temples and other ancient relics, this observation point catches the eye as an example of 20th-century innovation.

Fushimi Inari Shrine
Image for Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine

4.5/5(1,173 reviews)

This shrine at the base of Inari Mountain is dedicated to the goddess of rice and prosperity. See its thousands of red gates around a network of beautiful trails.

Kawaramachi
Image for Kawaramachi

Kawaramachi

4.5/5(124 reviews)

You can find the perfect gifts to bring home when you visit Kawaramachi, a favorite shopping spot in Kyoto. Amble within picturesque gardens or visit the temples in this culturally-rich area.

Kiyomizu Temple
Image for Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizu Temple

4.5/5(759 reviews)

Constructed entirely without nails and built on high poles, this temple is part of a World Heritage Site and offers visitors both beauty and history.

Nishiki Market
Image for Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market

4.5/5(253 reviews)

Come to this market in the heart of the city to experience the authentic sights, smells and sounds of the bartering vendors and their traditional food.

Kyoto Imperial Palace
Image for Kyoto Imperial Palace

Kyoto Imperial Palace

4.5/5(566 reviews)

Find out about the history of Kyoto Imperial Palace, one of the top monuments in Kyoto. Check out the temples and top-notch restaurants in this culturally-rich area.

Top activities in Kyoto

Private Japanese Small Katana Forging Experience
Image for Private Japanese Small Katana Forging Experience

Private Japanese Small Katana Forging Experience

98% of travellers recommend
¥18,000
Per adult
Nishiki Market Food Tour
Image for Nishiki Market Food Tour

Nishiki Market Food Tour

100% of travellers recommend
¥8,000
Per adult
Private Japanese Sword Forge Visit & Lesson
Image for Private Japanese Sword Forge Visit & Lesson

Private Japanese Sword Forge Visit & Lesson

92% of travellers recommend
¥20,965
Per adult
Authentic Japanese Cooking Class in Central Kyoto
Image for Authentic Japanese Cooking Class in Central Kyoto

Authentic Japanese Cooking Class in Central Kyoto

100% of travellers recommend
¥8,000
Per adult
For Vegan Ramen Making by Ramen Factory
Image for For Vegan Ramen Making by Ramen Factory

For Vegan Ramen Making by Ramen Factory

100% of travellers recommend
¥7,300
Per adult
Small-Group Nishiki Market Food Tour in Kyoto
Image for Small-Group Nishiki Market Food Tour in Kyoto

Small-Group Nishiki Market Food Tour in Kyoto

100% of travellers recommend
¥9,500
Per adult

Reviews of Kyoto

4.8

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
1577
5 - Excellent 78.37972166998011%
4 - Good
398
4 - Good 19.781312127236582%
3 - Okay
31
3 - Okay 1.540755467196819%
2 - Disappointing
4
2 - Disappointing 0.1988071570576541%
1 - Terrible
2
1 - Terrible 0.09940357852882704%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Apr 3, 2020

very easy to get around and visit all the sites in the area, trains and buses run regularly throughout the day, so you never have very long to wait for one to come along

4/5 - Good

RB

Mar 26, 2020

Quiet at the time of visit. A beautiful place.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Mar 20, 2020

I would love to live here.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Mar 18, 2020

The city itself is great unfortunately didn't have enough time to explore the entire city. There are a TON of temples and shrines to visit in Kyoto, kind of off putting when most of the good ones are "Pay to enter," when others in the country are not

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Mar 18, 2020

Kyoto was a lovely place to visit. There is so much to see here. The traditional neighborhoods and bamboo homes are scenic. The city is safe and pleasant.

5/5 - Excellent

Jenny

Mar 14, 2020

Kyoto has lots to see and we didn't have enough time to do it all in 3.5 days. I'd love to go back and do more.

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